Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sermons or Parables?

Do you ever sit in church or a Christian gathering and just think the devotional or sermon isn't really necessary? The songs said it all, or the fellowship, or the Scripture read all by itself? Last week in church I was content to meditate on the Scriptural basis and beautiful hope of We Will Dance by David Ruis. If you've ever studied wedding ceremonies in Bible times, you may have some concept of the joy and purity involved. Fortunately, similar ceremonies are making a comeback.

"As one of the men selected to officiate in the ceremony, I had the glorious, ringside seat to the very first romantic kiss in the life of both the groom and the bride. This is now the fourth or fifth time in my life that I have had the privilege of watching such a “first kiss” as an officiating minister to a wedding ceremony. Here are my conclusions:

"First, these beautiful kisses are worth ten thousand sermons. They are an antidote to the cynicism of the age. They are instructive and inspiring. They give hope to mothers and fathers, young men and ladies, and the children we hope will also grow up in purity before the Lord. We are all better off as a community of saints when a pure woman marries a pure man. Our job as parents, elders, friends, and relatives is easier, because of this godly example."
~ Vision Forum reporting on a wedding of their friends and associates

At an Awana conference last year one of the students did a dramatic recitation of a chapter of Daniel. Sometimes a sermon will begin with the reading of Scripture. I wish they would just keep reading. Josh Harris dedicated a large portion of time to reading from 2 Timothy in his address at the New Attitude conference, Humble Orthodoxy.

All this to say, sometimes it's ok if there isn't the four point, alliterative outline and the illustrations, or even biblical exegesis. In fact it can be frustrating when a relationship-building conversation is interrupted at a fellowship event by a pastor or spiritual "leader" who feels obligated to give a short (pastor speech for under an hour) devotional talk ("talk" is supposed to be the non-intimidating word for sermon). Michael Card writes about the living parables, which Jesus demonstrated as recorded frequently in the Gospel of John. Lessons are often more impacting when they are personal, and lived out.

To God be all glory.


Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Hey, I blogged that VF thing!

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Isn't that suspicious? I confess though I'd seen it before, I linked there from your blog.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Lisa of Longbourn said...

My brother mentioned today that a book he read, Table in the Presence, contains a real character who discovered as a military chaplain the same thing: sermons are not always the most effective way of communicating. Sometimes just reading Scripture where it has never been heard before can be very powerful!
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn